December 2010

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2010.

The retrospective stories of 2010 or coming out the door and the Census story as a top issue for 2010 and the coming 2011.

new articles today:



I am sure there will be more!  These are the ones that poped on my desk this morning without me even having to look for them!

Members on the list have presented at the House Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics and have made submissions to the Standing Committee of Industry, Science and Technology, and have significantly contributed to Legislative Committee on Bill C32. / Les membres de la liste ont présenté au Comité permanent de l’accès à l’information, de la protection des renseignements personnels et de l’éthique, faitent des soumissions au Comité permanent de l’industrie, des sciences et de la technologie et ont largement contribué au Comité législatif chargé du projet de loi C-32.

House committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics / Comité permanent de l’accès à l’information, de la protection des renseignements personnels et de l’éthique

studies and reports on matters referred to it by the House of Commons, or on topics the Committee itself chooses to examine. / mène des études et présente des rapports sur les questions qui lui sont renvoyées par la Chambre des communes, ou sur celles qu’il choisit d’étudier de son propre chef.

The Committee studies matters related to reports of the Information Commissioner of Canada, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and the Ethics Commissioner, with respect to the last-mentioned official’s responsibilities under the Parliament of Canada Act relating to public office holders; and reports tabled pursuant to theLobbyists Registration Act. The Committee’s mandate is set out in section 108(3)(h) of the Standing Orders. / Le Comité étudie les questions relatives aux rapports du Commissaire à l’information du Canada, du Commissaire à la protection de la vie privée du Canada et duCommissaire à l’éthique, au titre des responsabilités qui incombent à ce dernier aux termes de la Loi sur le Parlement du Canada, ainsi que les rapports déposés en application de la Loi sur l’enregistrement des lobbyistes. Le mandat du Comité est défini à l’alinéa 108(3)h) du Règlement.

Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) / Comité permanent de l’industrie, des sciences et de la technologie (INDU)

studies and reports on legislation, the activities and spending of Industry Canadaand the other members of the Industry Portfolio, and other matters related to / est chargé de réaliser des études et de préparer des rapports sur les activités et dépenses d’Industrie Canada et les autres membres duportefeuille de l’Industrie, sur les projets de loi qui relèvent de ce ministère, ainsi que sur d’autres questions touchant :

  • industry and technology capability / le développement industriel et la technologie;
  • scientific research and development / la recherche et le développement scientifiques;
  • telecommunications policy / la politique sur les télécommunications;
  • investment, trade, small business and tourism / l’investissement, le commerce, la petite entreprise et le tourisme;
  • rules and services that support the effective operation of the marketplace / les règles et services soutenant le fonctionnement efficace du marché.

Legislative Committee on Bill C-32 (CC32) / Comité législatif chargé du projet de loi C-32 (CC32)

Standing Committee on Transport and Communication /Comité permanent des transport et des communications

The subject areas for which the Committee is responsible include / Les domaines qui relèvent du Comité sont les suivants :

• Transport and communications by land, air, water, and space, be this by radio, telephone, telegraph, wire, cable, microwave, wireless, television, satellite, broadcasting, post, or any other means, method or form / les transports et les communications par voie de terre, d’air, d’eau et d’espace, que ce soit par radio, téléphone, télégraphe, fil, câble, micro-onde, sans-fil, télévision, satellite, radiodiffusion, communications postales, ou par toute autre forme, méthode ou moyen;
• Tourist traffic / Tourisme
• Common carriers / Transports publiques
• Navigation, shipping and navigable waters / La navigation, le transport maritime et les voies navigables.

See the Plan for a Digital Canada Report / Plan pour in Canada numérique

From the wonderful folks at the Save the Census Campaign

(I particularly giggled at the Stevie Cutie one, what would Ertha Kitt say!)

Reinstate the Long Form Census
to the tune of “Deck the Halls”

Reinstate the Long Form Census,
Fa la la la la la la la
Its demise is really senseless,
Fa la la la la la la la
Give us back this vital data
Fa la la la la la la la
Bring it back right now, not later.
Fa la la la la la la la.

Hear the raging statisticians
Fa la la la la la la la
Stating all our hopes and wishes
Fa la la la la la la la
Many groups across our nation
Fa la la la la la la la
Join to stop this devastation
Fa la la la la la la la

Those from lower social classes
Fa la la la la la la la
Fear the new one will bypass us
Fa la la la la la la la
Sing we now in protestation
Fa la la la la la la la
Speaking out to save our nation
Fa la la la la la la la!

Hark the Statisticians Sing
to the tune of ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’

Hark the Statisticians sing
Give us back that census thing
Don’t destroy the data source
That we use to chart our course.

Joyful if it is returned
From its data much we’ve learned
It has been around since when
Christ was born in Bethlehem.

Hark the Statisticians sing
Don’t listen to the far right wing!

Many want it now restored
Province, village, town and Board
Rural, urban, poor and rich,
Think to lose it is a shame

Cancelled almost secretly
For no reason clear to see
Many mourn this tragic loss
Blaming Harper – he’s the boss!

Hark, the statisticians sing
Please reinstate the Census thing!

Census Forms
to the tune of ‘Jingle Bells’

Filling out the form
On a long form census day
Takes ‘bout half an hour
Glad to have my say

Don’t find it intrudes
Isn’t worth the fuss
The information it provides
Benefits all of us

Census forms, census forms
Glad to have my say!
It’s a thing we really need
Bring back our census day!

Census forms, census forms
Glad to have our say
It’s a part of Canada
Please don’t take it away!

Need the whole long form
More than a survey
Counts us every one
No one goes astray
Things that we all need
The census helps us get
If we can just volunteer
Some needs will go unmet.

Census forms, census forms
Glad to have my say
It’s a part of Canada
Please don’t take it away!

Stevie Baby
to the tune of “Santa Baby”

Stevie Baby, just slip a census under the tree, for me.
Been an awful good count,
Stevie Baby, so make it mandatory again.

Stevie Baby, a data source that we know is true — like you!
We’ll wait till it returns,
Stevie baby, so make it mandatory again.

Though its now your nemesis
Think of all the fellas that it’s gonna miss
Next year could be twice as good,
If you’d restore the Census list!

Stevie baby
We want a count on which we can count — a fount.

Information we need, Stevie baby,
So make it mandatory again.

Stevie honey
One little thing we really need, indeed.
Data that we can mine, Stevie Baby,
So make it mandatory again.

Stevie cutie
Don’t think this is one little thing – we sing!
Sign your x on the line, Stevie cutie,
And make it mandatory again.

Please maintain this data source
With some gentle suasion, just to reinforce.
You don’t need to keep jail time
Make it just a minor crime!

Stevie baby
Won’t complete your “Household Survey” – no way!
It’s a failed substitute,
Stevie baby, so make it mandatory again.
Make it mandatory again
Tory, tonight!

We Need a Long Form Census
to the tune “We Need a Little Christmas” from ‘Mame’

Please stop this folly
Bring back the form before you hurt our nation more
Fill out the questions
We may be losing things we never missed before now

Cause we need the long form Census
Right this very minute
Joyous statisticians, data without limits

Yes we need the long form census
Right this very minute
Its cancellation caused a flurry
That Stephen Harper makes us worry

So climb off your high horse
Reverse the dumbest thing we’ve seen you do in years
Don’t be a fruitcake
It’s time you faced the facts, to public pressure please bow!

For we’ve grown a little smarter
Grown a little older
Grown a lot more vocal
Grown a whole lot bolder

And we need a lot more data
‘Bout every householder.
We need the long form census now!

Good King Censusless
to the tune of “Good King Wenceslas”

Good King Censusless looked out
On the cottage season.
With the sunshine all about
Warm and crisp and even.
Everyone was drinking beer
Feeling great elation.
How could he disrupt the cheer
breaking cross the nation?

“Mr Clement, good MP,
If you knowst it, telling,
Yonder voter, who is he
Tory ranks not swelling?”
“Sire, a man I once knew long
Loathed the census taking
If you could remove this wrong
You’d be nation-making.”

“Make it so”, he said at once
With no consultation,
“Though I may be thought a dunce
Causing consternation.”
Statistician would not toast
His part in this madness.
He would rather quit his post
Causing him much sadness.

Harper bellowed “What a fool!
Get that man to focus!
He should know that math’s not cool,
Stats are hocus pocus.”
Statistician stood his ground
In the public’s favour.
He said he was honour-bound;
People thought him braver.

“Bring me hatchets, bring me fire,
We shall burn his cabin!
He’s earned my unholy ire!
He won’t know what happened!”
Steve and Tony, off they trod,
Off they trod together
Feeling stormy, yet instead
Of the sunny weather.

Statistician’s cabin burned
To the ground next morning.
Steve and Tony have not learned,
Though this be a warning:
Cabin dwellers all be sure
Be you all accounted,
Those who cannot count the poor
Can’t themselves be counted.

Wendy Watkins, From MADGIC at Carleton University and one of the founders of the Data Liberation Initiative has kindly shared her Statistical Society of Ottawa Presentation on the Cancellation of the Long-Form Census in Canada.

It looks like a biased toward industry monitoring agency Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) has left the public in the dark about fish abnormalities in waters in and around the oil sands sites.  It is also a case where the monitoring agency is aggregating the data into annual reports and not providing the raw data for others to scrutinize.

“That is the problem. To get the actual data, you need the raw data,” not just annual reports, said Kevin Timoney, an Alberta ecologist and oil sands researcher. “They release just enough so they can say that they did, but they don’t give you enough to see what’s really going on.”

Pembina Institute: “An essential component of any credible monitoring program is that all the data should be available to the public,

Hundreds of deformed fish found in rivers running through the Alberta oil sands have been collected and documented by an industry-led monitoring body, The Globe and Mail has learned, but the findings were not shared with the public or key decision makers in government.

That body, the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP), has been criticized in scientific quarters as secretive and is under the scrutiny of three reviews. Former environment minister Jim Prentice ordered one of those reviews after being shown photos this fall of a few malformed fish, and it was delivered Thursday to Environment Canada.

The Monitoring agencie’s Steering Committee is mixed between Oil industry, public health agencies, First Nations and government with very heavy emphasis on big oil industry:

Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (formerly Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Health Canada
Alberta Environment Husky Energy
Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Imperial Oil Resources
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. MEG Energy Corp.
ConocoPhillips Canada Nexen  Inc.
Devon Canada Corporation Northern Lights Health Region
Environment Canada Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Fort McMurray First Nation Shell Albian Sands
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Suncor Energy Inc.
Fort McKay First Nation Syncrude Canada Ltd.
Hammerstone Corporation Total E&P Canada Ltd.

I tried to find out who the members of the technical committee are but only found the following org chart which illustrates that the 3 non government stakeholders are First Nations or Metis Groups and these are dwarfed between industry and government. On the Government side you also see an Energy and Utilities Board, while on the industry side, by the largest number representatives,  is the petroleum & energy industry:
The following are the labs RAMP states it subs it’s work to.  I do not know enough the science to assess them.  I do wonder if they would have the raw data in their shops and if they would release these to the public.  A lab that is sub-contracted may or may not be the owners of the data and may or may not have given up the rights to publish them.  This is often the issue with the procurement of data, for instance, survey engineers claim IP on their data and share them with a city only for city assessments, but the city has to send citizens back to the survey engineer to view those data and the city cannot share these with citizens openly.  In this case, it would be more trustworthy to acquire the raw data from the labs directly.  However, it also depends who owns these labs.  They could very well be owned by the industries that need tests done, or they could be biased toward those industries as they would be their major source of revenue.

  • ALS Environmental – most water and sediment quality analyses
  • Alberta Research Council – some ultratrace metal analyses
  • AXYS Laboratories – sediment concentrations of PAHs
  • HydroQual – water and sediment toxicity analyses
  • Flett Research – mercury analysis in non-lethal fish tissue samples
  • Jack Zloty – benthic invertebrate taxonomy

RAMP shares its information only in annual monitoring reports.  There is an interactive web map of their monitoring sites.  The legend indicates fish tissue monitoring site, and I only found 2 fish tissue sampling sites that do not provide much data except that a sample was taken. According the the G&M article:

Much of the raw data collected by RAMP is kept private, deemed proprietary because of the industry funding. But even among its members, it has faced pressure to open up. Syncrude, which did much of the testing before RAMP’s inception, has called for data to be released, spokeswoman Cheryl Robb said.

In RAMP’s news section there is reference to an article indicating that they would make their database available to the public.  I could not find this database on their site and have sent them an email requesting to see it.  The email I recceived regarding this request is as follows:

Good morning Tracey,

Thank you for your e-mail.

As indicated by the media post you pointed out, the database will be available to the public by the end of the year and that is still our intention. Please check back next week.

Best regards,
RAMP Communications

This is a classic lack of transparency situation and a seeming stacked deck leaning heavily toward meeting industry interests. It is very reminiscent of the Environment Canada refusal to share Mine Pollutant Data, a government agency supposedly overseeing the public interest not sharing key data.

It is good to revisit the fundamentals.  These reports were part of the original discourse starting in 1992 on making data accessible.  The Earth Summit created Chapter 40. Information for Decision-Making which quite nicely lays out the importance of access to data. Down to Earth is the result of Rio +10. The GEOSS Data Sharing Action Plan brought together private sector, nations, research centres and NGOs to produce this comprehensive plan. You can read about the Data Sharing Principles of the multi million dollar data sets starting on page 137 of this document. It is a nice reminder that Open Data did not just show up as an idea in 2009 in Canada.  It has been simmering into a good broth for some time. Open data has become the base for a variety of soups appearing on actual menus and leaving the kitchen to nourish some real minds.

Info shared by a fan of who would like to remain anonymous.

Carolyn Bennett’s private member’s bill C-568 to make the mandatory long form census. er, mandatory again…. passed.

  • earlier release describing it:
  • the text of the actual bill, at first reading
  • the speeches of those debating it:
  • the portal for this Bill
  • also today, the Canadian Policy Alternative’s ARMINE YALNIZYAN had a piece on an economist arguing that the integrity of the inflation / Consumer Price Index might be at risk, now

via:, Parti libérale du Canada

Pour diffusion immédiate
Le 8 décembre 2010

Le projet de loi libéral sur le recensement est adopté malgré le fait que les conservateurs aient voté contre

OTTAWA – Malgré le fait que le projet de loi libéral visant à sauver le formulaire détaillé de recensement obligatoire ait franchi l’étape de la deuxième lecture, les conservateurs de Harper ont voté contre à l’unanimité. Ces derniers continuent d’ignorer la volonté de la majorité des Canadiens qui n’ont cessé de lutter contre les attaques idéologiques portées contre le recensement, a déclaré aujourd’hui la députée libérale, Dre Carolyn Bennett.

« Aujourd’hui, chaque député conservateur devrait avoir honte de ses actes », a affirmé la Dre Bennett, dont le projet de loi d’initiative parlementaire vise à enchâsser dans la loi le formulaire détaillé sur le recensement obligatoire. Ce projet a été adopté en deuxième lecture aujourd’hui lors d’un vote à la Chambre des communes.

« La victoire d’aujourd’hui démontre clairement que la majorité des parlementaires soutiennent l’enchâssement du formulaire détaillé sur le recensement dans la loi ainsi que la préservation de l’intégrité des données nécessaires à l’élaboration efficace des politiques et à la prise de décisions reposant sur des données probantes. Seul ce gouvernement idéologique veut l’éliminer et dépenser 30 millions de dollars de plus provenant de l’argent des contribuables pour obtenir des renseignements moins fiables sur la base d’un questionnaire court non obligatoire. »

En votant contre le projet de loi d’initiative parlementaire de la Dre Bennett, les conservateurs continuent d’ignorer les appels des gouvernements provinciaux, territoriaux et municipaux, des économistes, des groupes communautaires, des associations médicales et des organisations religieuses qui utilisent les renseignements recueillis par l’entremise du recensement afin de prendre des décisions reposant sur des observations factuelles et qui aident les Canadiens dans leur vie quotidienne.

La semaine dernière, il a été confirmé que ce projet de loi ne nécessitera pas de recommandation royale pour poursuivre sa démarche parce que son adoption économisera en réalité 30 millions de dollars au gouvernement. Ceci signifie que le projet de loi n’exige pas que le gouvernement conservateur le soutienne pour qu’il devienne loi s’il celui-ci est adopté par la Chambre des communes et le Sénat.

La question est maintenant de savoir si Stephen Harper respectera la volonté de la chambre élue. Si l’on se fie aux événements passés, nous demeurons sceptiques. Mais nous n’abandonnerons pas. Ce qui est en jeu, c’est l’intégrité des statistiques officielles du Canada et l’élément essentiel de la prise de décisions d’ordre économique dans les salons et les salles de conférence de la nation.

« Ce projet de loi est important car si le recensement n’est pas rétabli, Stephen Harper pourra mettre en œuvre son ordre du jour idéologique et réduire d’importants programmes pour les Canadiens. Il ne s’intéresse pas aux renseignements précis sur des choses telles que les niveaux de chômage, le multiculturalisme ou le travail non-rémunéré, parce qu’il préfère réduire des programmes tels que l’assurance-emploi, les services d’intégration pour les immigrants et les programmes destinés aux aidants naturels. »

Grâce à l’initiative libérale pour un gouvernement ouvert, un futur gouvernement libéral demanderait à tous les ministères et organismes fédéraux afin qu’ils adoptent le principe par défaut du gouvernement ouvert quand il s’agit d’échanger les renseignements et de rendre gratuites les données statistiques canadiennes.


Renseignements :

Bureau de l’hon. Dre Carolyn Bennett, députée, 613- 995-9666

Via:, Liberal Party of Canada
Liberal census bill passes – despite Harper Conservatives’ voting against it

OTTAWA – Although the Liberal bill to save the mandatory long-form census passed second reading today, the Harper Conservatives unanimously voted against it as they continue to ignore the will of the majority of Canadians who have been fighting against the government’s ideological attack on the census, Liberal MP Dr. Carolyn Bennett said today.

“Every single Conservative member should be ashamed by their actions today,” said Dr. Bennett, whose Private Member’s Bill to enshrine the mandatory long-form census in law passed at its second reading today during a vote in the House of Commons.

“Today’s victory clearly demonstrates that the majority of parliamentarians support enshrining the long-form census in law and preserving the integrity of the data needed for effective policy-making and evidence-based decisions. Only this ideological government wants to scrap it and spend $30 million more of taxpayers’ money to get less reliable information from a voluntary short form survey.”

By voting against Dr. Bennett’s Private Member’s Bill, the Conservatives continue to ignore calls from provincial, territorial and municipal governments, economists, community groups, medical associations, and religious organizations that use the information collected in the census to make fact-based decisions that help Canadians in their daily lives.

Last week, it was confirmed that this bill will not require a royal recommendation to proceed because its passage will actually save the government $30 million. This means the bill does not require the Conservative government to support it in order for it to become law if passed by the House of Commons and the Senate.

“The question now is: will Stephen Harper respect the will of the elected Chamber? Based on his track record, we’re skeptical. But we will not give up – what’s at stake is the integrity of Canada’s official statistics and the lifeblood of economic decision-making in the living rooms and boardrooms of the nation.

“This bill is important, because if the census is not reinstated, Stephen Harper will be able to implement his ideological agenda and cut important programs for Canadians. He doesn’t care about accurate information on things like unemployment levels, multiculturalism or unpaid work because he’d prefer to cut things like Employment Insurance, immigrant settlement services and programs that help family caregivers.”

Through the Liberal Open Government Initiative, a future Liberal government would direct all federal departments and agencies to adopt a default principle of open government when it comes to sharing information, and make all Statistics Canada data available free of charge.



Office of the Hon. Dr. Carolyn Bennett, MP, 613- 995-9666

Via: Save the Census Campaign

Save the Census Update:
Below you will find an update on a variety of issues, including: recent media coverage surrounding the campaign and the census; an update from Ottawa; a summary of our by-election campaigns in Vaughan and Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, Manitoba; and progress on our Charter challenge.

Vaughan and Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette by-elections:
On November 29th a by-election was held in Manitoba and Ontario. Individual members of the campaign have registered as a “third party” advertiser with Elections Canada. In Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, radio ads ran during the final week of the by-election, while in Vaughan, 15,000 leaflets were distributed to homes. In both ridings the message we sent to voters was to “vote for your right to be counted”.

Moving forward we are establishing a robust social media presence and building a riding-by-riding capacity to make sure that MP’s from every party, right across Canada, know that the Census is an important issue in their backyard.

From Parliament Hill

  • The Opposition have united in an effort to reinstate the Long Form Census and to ensure the independence and integrity of the Office of the Chief Statistician through two Private Members Bills. The first to be voted on in the House on Wednesday December 9th, a Liberal Private Members Bill to reinstate the Mandatory Long Form Census.
  • The second, an NDP Bill will be debated in the New Year.
  • Liberal Private Members Bill to be debated Wednesday December 9th. Link (1) (2)
  • If you can take a minute to email your Member of Parliament in support of this Bill it would be appreciated.
  • Both the HUMA and Status of Women Committees have held hearings on the impact of the loss of the Mandatory Long Form Census, minutes and evidence presented can be found at the following links.

Media Coverage:

December 5, 2010–Professors may need more funding after census changes
The elimination the mandatory long-form census has been in the media quite a bit over the past month. Listed below are some of the more recent news items that appeared over the past week that discuss the Conservative decision. The first article indicates what our campaign has been arguing since July—that data collection and analysis is going to be much more difficult for researchers to access. This article focuses on University educators:

— December 2, 2010–Federal Departments detailed potential census impact a year ago:
This article outlines that the necessary (census) data that is usually compiled for deciding EI eligibility, understanding program performance and efficiencies, and improving immigration and settlement are all at risk because of the Conservatives intentions to implement the National Household Survey:

Other articles about the census and our campaign:
The Ottawa Citizen: EU scolds Harper government for StatsCan controversy
The Tyee: Pro-census group applies pressure in federal byelections with radio ads, flyers
The Ottawa Citizen: All Canadians should be concerned
Canadian Press: Huge demand for mandatory long-form census data to aid minorities, women
Winnipeg Free Press: Group takes long-census fight to byelections
The Capital Works: Census change ignores women’s unpaid work, advocates say

Save the Census is on Facebook and Twitter:
We’ve started a new Facebook page as the “Keep the Long-Form Census” page reached its capacity leading to restrictions being put on our ability to communicate with members. By joining the Save the Census Facebook page, you can stay up-to-date on where we’re at, what the media is saying and any other important correspondence we may have to bring you. Please encourage your friends to join, as well:

You can also follow us and receive important updates by following the Save the Census campaign on twitter:@savethecensus

Charter Challenge:
CCSD, the Canadian Council on Social Development, has joined with twelve other organizations to launch a legal challenge to protect Canadians’ “Right to be Counted.” Our Charter challenge has been accepted by the Courts, however we have not been given a date yet for our hearing. We will keep you informed of any progress on this piece.

Continuing our battle takes—surprise—money! If you would like to donate to the Save the Census campaign please visit our website by following this link:

Find out more at, and For more information or to get actively involved with the campaign email us at

Thank you for taking the time to read this important update.

John Campey (Social Planning Toronto) and Peggy Taillon (Canadian Council on Social Development)

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